The Final Article by Parker Stephen Traman (Ranking Every Book I Had to Read in Class)


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Thick red book isolated on white background.

Parker Traman

You know, with this being my final article ever, yes I said it, ever, I decided to choose violence and offend all of my English teachers: I’m going to rank every book I’ve had to read so far in high school. Mind you, I think I’ve only enjoyed like two of these books. Get ready for some spicy takes and salty teachers. Oh, and I’m not counting Shakespeare because I hate him. And no, short stories doesn’t count, who do you think I am?

#7:) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:

I feel safe to admit this on such a grand stage (mainly because I’m a big boy and not a sophomore anymore), but I didn’t even finish this book. I can’t stand Ray Bradbury’s writing, it’s simply just not for me. Along with that, I enjoy the themes and concept of the book, but the logic isn’t there. The thing that makes good sci-fi is a hint of logic in such a fantastical concept, but that’s not here. You’re meaning to tell me that this is a realistic idea as to what would happen if we decided to burn books? Like dude, no. Plus, Guy Montag is one of the most forgettable protagonists in any book I’ve ever read.

#6:) Lord of the Flies by William Golding:

I hate to dog on my sophomore year’s selections here, but good lord this book…this book. The only reason why it’s above Ray Bradbury’s “classic” is because I actually finished it. Despite having dark themes (where kids literally kill each other), it feels like it was written for five year olds. There’s no deeper thought you can put into it, it’s just simple words with simple meanings. There are so many other books with themes very similar to this that accomplish the wonder of the human psyche way better.

#5:) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Now the last of the crappy books, this book, which is often cited as one of the greatest ever written, is the opposite of Lord of the Flies, where for some reason the simplest of actions are given such bloated descriptions to where it’s genuinely mind boggling to read some passages. I didn’t necessarily hate this book, but it was a slog to read.

#4:) Challenger Deep by Neal Schusterman:

While this book is like a baby version of Fight Club, it’s honestly a decent read for 2/3s of it. The problem? The climax and ending is genuinely awful. The big plot twist of the book is god awful, like I can’t stand it. It nearly ruined my experience. But the rest of it is fine.

#3:) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

As a fan of southern literature, To Kill a Mockingbird very much deserves its “classic” label. Atticus is a character that, while not being a masterclass in writing, is a great entry point for new readers towards deeper thinking and complex themes. This is also one of the only books told from the perspective of a child that actually pulls it off well, so I’ll give it that.

#2:) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck:

If my love for southern literature was shining through with the last entry, then Steinbeck’s classic novella is an even better example. An amazing, quick read, Of Mice and Men isn’t the titular author’s masterpiece, but it’s still a must read, and for me, being a man who has a tough time reading, I never really got bored with it.

#1:) Watchmen by Alan Moore:

As a comic fan, reading Watchmen was just a treat. It’s, quite frankly, the best story ever told in comic history, and it’s a shame its sequels haven’t even come close to its quality. While not for everyone, mainly because the medium is difficult to grasp for some people, it certainly was for me, and I loved reading every page of this amazing graphic novel.